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Table of contents
What is Procedural Programming?
Key Features of Procedural Programming
Advantages of Procedural programming
Disadvantages of Procedural Programming
What is Procedural Programming Used For?
Difference between Object-Oriented Programming and procedural programming
Difference between Procedural Programming and Functional Programming
Frequently Asked Questions
What is procedural programming in C++?
What is called procedural programming?
What is procedural vs object-oriented programming?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Procedural Programming: Everything You Need To Know

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Procedural programming is simple to use, requires less memory than other programming languages, and works excellent with interpreters and compilers. Sounds good, right?  Let us know more about procedural programming in this article.

Procedural Programming

What is Procedural Programming?

Procedural programming is derived from imperative programming. Its concept is based on procedure calls. Procedures are nothing but a series of computational steps to be carried out. In Procedural programming, the execution of the instructions takes place step by step. When you use Procedural language, you give instructions directly to your computer and tell it how to reach its goal through processes. Procedural programming focuses on the process rather than data (Object-oriented Programming) and function (Functional Programming). 

The first major procedural programming languages around 1957-1964 were FORTRAN, ALGOL, COBOL, PL/I and BASIC. The procedural Programming paradigm is one of the first paradigms to emerge in the computational world.

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Key Features of Procedural Programming

1. Pre-defined Functions: It is an instruction identified by name. Such as “charAt()” is a pre-defined function that searches for a character in a string at a specific position. There are more pre-defined functions that make competitive programming a little easier.

2. Local Variables: Local variables are declared in the main structure of a method. You will only be able to access the local variable within the method. In C programming language, this is what local variables are:

void function_1()
    int a, b; // you can use a and b within braces only

void function_2()
    printf("%d\n", a); // ERROR, function_2() doesn't know any variable a


In the above code, two variables, a & b, are declared inside the function_1() that cannot be accessed outside the function, such as function_2(). 

3. Global Variables: They are declared outside all methods to be accessible from anywhere in the code. Let you get familiar with global variables in C:

int a, b = 10;  // declaring and initializing global variables

void func_1()
    printf("From func_1() Global a = %d\n", a);
    printf("From func_1() Global b = %d\n\n", b);

void func_2()
    int a = 5;
    printf("Inside func_2() a = %d\n", a);

In the above code, declaration and initialisation of variables are made in the starting to make it accessible for all the functions in the code. 

4. Programming libraries: A programming library is a collection of code written previously to utilise whenever a programmer requires it. 

5. Modularity: It is a general term that relates to the creation of software in a way that allows individual modules to be developed, often with a standard interface to let modules communicate with each other.

You can also learn more about Features of Object Oriented Programming here.

Advantages of Procedural programming

  • The programs written are straight forward with precise usage of accumulators and interpreters.
  • The code is compact and reusable.
  • It breaks problems into smaller subproblems, making them accessible and faster to solve.
  • It expands the renewable energy of the program.
  • It utilises CPU storage effectively.
  • It is more flexible than other alternatives.

Disadvantages of Procedural Programming

  • The procedural program is not recyclable.
  • Information is defenceless.
  • The information is accessible from the whole code resulting in safety issues.
  • It is event-driven programming, not portable to other operating systems.
  • Programmers need to specialise as each language is suitable for a specific type of application.

What is Procedural Programming Used For?

Procedural programming is used for structuring code as a sequence of instructions. It is primarily used to solve specific tasks step-by-step, where the code is organized into reusable procedures or functions. In this approach, the focus is on breaking down the problem into smaller, manageable steps and then creating procedures to perform each step. 

Procedural programming is well-suited for small to medium-sized projects. It is good, especially when the tasks are straightforward and need a clear, linear flow. It is often employed in implementing algorithms, mathematical computations, and tasks that require a series of well-defined steps to achieve the desired outcome. While procedural programming has been widely used historically, modern programming paradigms like object-oriented programming (OOP) and functional programming have gained popularity due to their enhanced modularity and reusability.

Difference between Object-Oriented Programming and procedural programming

Object-Oriented Programming

Procedural Programming

It is related to a procedural programming language. It is related to an imperative and structured programming language.
In this paradigm, it is easy to maintain code and modify existing code. In this paradigm, if a sub-procedure has to be modified, it becomes difficult to find and maintain it.
Due to easy maintenance, development time reduces. Due to its complexity, development time increases.
Object-oriented uses objects, classes, messages, correspondingly. Procedural uses procedures, modules, procedure calls.
Object-oriented programming designs can be reused throughout the program. In procedural, designs cannot be reused and recycled throughout the program.
In object-oriented programming, objects and classes can be referenced throughout the program. While solving issues in procedural programming, issues need to be addressed individually.
It is easy to maintain. It is not easy to maintain.
Data hiding is possible, hence more secure than procedural. Data hiding is not possible.
It has four central concepts – Abstraction, Encapsulation, Inheritance and Polymorphism. It has no such concepts as Inheritance.

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Difference between Procedural Programming and Functional Programming


Procedural Programming

 Functional Programming

Core Abstractions Procedures or functions Functions
State and Mutable Data Common use of mutable data Discourages mutable data
Immutability Not a central concern Emphasizes immutability
Control Flow Loops and conditionals Recursion and higher-order functions
Side Effects Common (mutable state, side effects) Minimized (pure functions)
Data Transformation In-place data modification Creation of new data structures
Concurrency and Parallelism Challenging due to mutable state Easier to manage due to immutability

Frequently Asked Questions

What is procedural programming in C++?

In procedural programming in C++, you typically create a series of functions or procedures that manipulate data, perform calculations, and control the flow of the program. 

What is called procedural programming?

Procedural programming is a programming paradigm that focuses on using procedures or functions to structure a program's logic. In this paradigm, the program's instructions are organized as a sequence of procedures or routines

What is procedural vs object-oriented programming?

Procedural programming primarily relies on functions or procedures whereas OOP centers around objects, which are instances of classes.


Procedural programming is from years and will be there for several more years. It is the base of programming languages that are built on top of it. Even the modern programming languages are either completely object-oriented or a combination of object-oriented and procedural programming.

I hope it got you interested to learn more about procedural programming.

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